Jerry orbach's guiltless yuletide french fries

Yield: 4 servings

Measure Ingredient
⅓ cup Extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
1 Red chili pepper, seeded and halved
1 Green chili pepper, seeded and halved
1 Bay leaf
5 larges Idaho potatoes, sliced into 1/2" discs
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
1 tablespoon Paprika
Whole red and green chili peppers for garnish

"One of my favorite food memories," reminisces Jerry Orbach, who plays Detective Lennie Briscoe on NBC's critically acclaimed LAW & ORDER, "is of my grandmother picking the cherries off our cherry trees and preserving them to make cherry pies. At least two of the pies would have my initials on top. Those were the ones that were reserved especially for me."

Orbach no longer allows himself to eat two pies - "because I watch my weight for the camera," - or anther of the his favorite foods, "the fattening French dish POMMES SOUFFLEES, or twice-fried potatoes." But this recipe for Yuletide French Fries lets the veteran stage actor have a treat. "I eat these 'guiltless' french fries instead, and they satisfy me almost as much," says Orbach.

The talented Tony-winning actor also relishes his role as the acerbic Briscoe. "It's a rush to play the authority figure," he says. "It's just like when you were a kid and you always wanted to play the cop or the principal."

OIL (PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE SERVING): Pour olive or vegetable oil into a measuring cup. Add red and green chili peppers and bay leaf.

Cover cup and refrigerate overnight to flavor oil.

FRENCH FRIES: Preheat oven to 350'F. Place potatoes in large mixing bowl. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Remove peppers and bay leaf from oil. Toss potatoes with oil. Place in shallow baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden-brown, turning several times to allow to brown evenly and to keep from sticking. Transfer to serving platter and garnish with whole chilies.

Submitted By MICHAEL ORCHEKOWSKI On 11-26-94

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